Mei Zhang

Founder and Chairlady

Mei is a native of Yunnan province in southwest China. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and worked for McKinsey & Company until she found her true passion in sustainable travel. Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board. While serving as a consultant to The Nature Conservancy, Mei witnessed the push and pull between economic development and conservation of both nature and culture in Yunnan. She strongly believed that there was a for-profit solution to this – providing a sophisticated interpretation of Chinese culture and nature through experiential travel.

This revolutionary concept led to the creation of WildChina in 2000.

Together with WildChina CEO Albert Ng, Mei has transformed the company into an award-winning business: National Geographic Adventure’s ‘Best Adventure Travel Company on Earth’. Mei’s expertise has also led her to win a number of personal awards and accolades, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts.

The WildChina story has been covered by Harvard Business Review, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME, and more. WildChina set the golden standard in luxury adventure travel in China, and its rigorous operation process is documented in multiple Harvard Business School case studies and is studied by Harvard MBAs, as well as University of California HAAS Business School and Columbia School of Business students. 

Realizing that WildChina alone cannot change the industry, Mei is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism and entrepreneurship in China. She served as a judge for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and has been on the advisory boards of Adventure Travel Trade Association, The International Ecotourism Society and, was a founding board member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) primarily funded by the UN Foundation.

Led by Mei, WildChina has also established many partnerships with grassroots conversation projects, villages, nature reserves, and NGOs across China.

In 2009 Mei was listed as a Travel + Leisure A List travel advisor and in 2010 as a Condé Nast Top Travel Specialist. She has remained on both lists every year since.

In 2012, after spending four years in Washington DC, establishing WildChina’s US presence, Mei took another leap of faith, returning to China to build another venture, Beshan, bringing sophisticated travel to a chic Chinese clientele.

In 2014 Mei was listed on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List of trusted travel advisors.

In 2016, Penguin published Mei’s first book, Travels through Dali: with a leg of ham. The book is a beautifully illustrated chronicle of her return to her roots in search of the region’s unique traditions, culture and cuisine.

In late 2020 Mei started posting on China’s social media platform Little Red Book (RED) and has since gained influencer status with over 500k followers and counting. Across both Little Red Book (小红书) and WeChat Channels (视频号) Mei now has a combined followership of over 1 million.

In 2022 Mei started her PhD studies at UC Berkeley in the Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) department, focusing on a feasibility study of how to pivot the Tea Horse Trail into a hiking trail, and possibly a national park.

Connect with Mei via Instagram: @wildchinamei

Listen to Mei's Podcast: The China Travel Podcast

Media Appearances

CGTN - China Global Television Network




Mei regularly writes a column for Caixin Media, a Chinese media group known for its independent, investigative journalism. Read her latest articles on China travel for Caixin through the links below.